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paper shopping bags

Gift Giving Questions

Organizing tipWhen buying gifts there are 3 simple questions you can ask to help determine how the gift will be received.

  1. Will this gift we a treasure or burden for the recipient?
  2. How practical and useful is this gift?
  3. Is this gift going to be difficult to use, assemble, or store?

Find some organizer friendly gift ideas in my past blog.

scary pumpkin

Organizing Tricks and Treats

In the spirit of October and Halloween I thought it would be fun to share some organizing tricks and treats. Are you wondering what I mean by that? It means I’ll be sharing some organizing tricks I personally use to help me stay organized on a daily basis, and I’ll be sharing the treats (benefits) I receive from staying organized. Here goes.

Tricks:

  • Have a “do it now” attitude. I don’t let things pile up and get out of control. I keep on top of clutter and mess. I do this by reclaiming order often. When I feel the need to reduce and de-clutter I tackle it quickly and thoroughly. It’s also crucial to have a place for things. If there is no designated spot to put things there is no way to establish and maintain order.
  • Look for simple solutions. I create as much order as I’m willing to maintain. For example I don’t color code* my clothes. To me that’s too much fuss. However, I group my clothing into categories and store them together. For example I hang all my tops together in this order, sleeveless, short sleeved,  3/4 length sleeves, and long sleeved tops.
  • Reduce down to manageable amounts. I constantly evaluate the usefulness of my belongings. We all have a tendency to keep things and come up with excuses for doing so, but I challenge myself to weed out the unused, unwanted, unneeded as often as I can.
  • Take time to plan. Have you heard the phrase, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Planning takes practice and discipline, but I work at it everyday. I plan daily tasks, my work week, my outfits, meals, shopping lists, exercise, and most importantly time for myself. This helps me get things done and prevents me from over-scheduling myself.

Treats:

  • Life without clutter. Don’t get me wrong, I have my piles and messes just like everyone else. However, I keep them to a manageable amount.
  • Less stress in my life because I’m organized. I can find what I want when I need it. Isn’t this what organizing is all about?
  • Ready for guests with just 15 minutes notice. When you have a home for things and don’t let the clutter get our of control it’s easy to pick up quickly.
  • An environment that is calm and peaceful.

*Color coding works great for some people, especially kids, but it’s one more additional step that I’m not willing to do.

©October 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®   All rights reserved.

 

consistent action

Experiment with New Habits

Organizing tipSet up a new habit as an experiment. This allows you to view the process as fun rather than a chore. New habits with a focus on maintaining order are always helpful. Here are two examples of experiments you can try.

  1. Experiment with collecting the mail daily and seeing how much you can immediately recycle without opening. Set a goal for yourself to recycle at least 10 pieces of mail a week. Keep a tally sheet on the fridge and get the whole family involved. Reward yourself with a family bonfire at the end of the month.
  2. Experiment with tossing one item a day from your junk drawer (or closet, dresser, medicine cabinet, or toiletries stash). Take a before photo. Do this for one month and take an after photo. How does it look? How much more functional is the drawer? How do you feel about your tossed items? Reward yourself with something fun and please share your before and after photos with me.
child organizing

20 Organizing Projects Kids Can Do

The skill of organizing can be learned by anyone, even kids. A good way to ease them into it is to have them contribute in small ways. Start by giving them organizing projects that match their skill level, so they don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Beginners can sort, categorize, and dispose, as well as assist with specific tasks. Once those skills are mastered they can advance to decision making and item placement. Ongoing practice and participation will improve their skills. Offering rewards and showing appreciation will help facilitate positive reinforcement and encourage future participation. By helping kids learn the skill of organizing at an early age, not only are they contributing to organizing the household, they’re acquiring skills that will help them in every aspect of their lives now and in the future. Here is a list of 20 organizing projects kids can do.

  1. While organizing kitchen cupboards have kids match food storage containers with their lids and recycle all the unmatched ones.
  2. Test pens and markers and discard the dried up ones.
  3. Check games for missing pieces. Make new pieces if possible.toys
  4. Disinfect door knobs and light switches. (Cleaning is part of organizing.)
  5. Sort craft supplies into categories and put away.
  6. Help clean out the car by tossing trash, wiping down doors, and washing mirrors.
  7. Shred papers that are deemed shreddable. Have them work from one box or bag of shreddable papers at a time.
  8. Collect mail and put into one designated mail in-box.
  9. Check dates on magazines and catalogues and recycle anything over 3 months old.
  10. While cleaning out the pantry have kids check expiration dates on canned goods, boxed food, and condiments. Toss what’s expired and donate to a food bank what won’t get eaten.
  11. Include them in the kitchen clean up by having them empty the dish washer.
  12. Create a donate box with images of what can go in it. Put 3 things in it from their room that they’re ready to get rid of.
  13. Label their devices, adapters, cords and headphones. backpack
  14. Try on clothes for the next season to see what fits. Put what doesn’t fit into the donation box.
  15. Put all dirty clothes in hamper. Wash their own clothes if they are capable.
  16. Include them in the laundry process by having them put away their clean laundry.
  17. Pick 10 school and art projects to save for the year. Store in one bin with label that they create.
  18. Make a spare parts bin to collect all the wandering game pieces, puzzle pieces, and legos. Collect them daily and empty the bin weekly.
  19. Clean out school bag/backpack and get rid of what’s not needed.
  20. Mark important dates (birthdays, school events, sport events, parties) on the calendar for the next 3 months.

©May 2020  Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer®  All Rights Reserved

Offering virtual organizing

Staying Organized During Uncertain Times

Wishing you good health and an optimistic outlook!

How are you? I hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe during this unprecedented health crisis. Both my husband and I are well. However we have been struggling with the unfamiliar situation we are in, especially in regards to feeling sluggish and unfocused, sharing one computer, and prioritizing time. I’m wondering if you’re experiencing something similar? If so, I wanted to share some insights that you may find helpful.